Welcome to the World of Home Education and Learning Without School!
We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
Six Billion Stories
We've all seen the ads on SBS where different people say what their story is about . I'm always left imagining the rest of the story after the one word has been said, inspired by the imagery used in the advert.
Stories help us make sense of the world. We seem to intrinsically need to share our experiences with others. Over time stories have become the way in which generations pass on knowledge and wisdom and the values we hold dear in society. Storytelling is more than entertainment, though telling stories is always entertaining.
Everyone has a story or many stories to tell. The art of telling stories comes naturally but I find that it is undervalued by parents and the education system, so that by the age of seven or eight we begin to lose this ability. Finding someone willing to listen in today's fast paced life can be difficult!
Storytelling is different from reading a story aloud. When we tell a story we relate an experience - imagined or otherwise - using voice and gesture. Eye contact is made and held. The audience are as much as part of the storytelling process as the storyteller. Stories build on cause and effect, what happens when, or if, an element experiences change. Stories aren't told in isolation; they are always part of a much bigger, continuing story. No two stories are the same and one story is different for each person listening to the story.
In listening and telling and contributing to stories, social skills are enhanced and developed. The imagination is exercised. We hone our ability to solve problems. Understanding and knowledge increase. We become aware of different states of being; we learn to recognise and accept that our worldview is one among many and that we are not alone. Through exploring cultural values and beliefs, stories help us develop a sense of meaning and belonging in the world. The symbolisms in stories help us to process emotions and situations that are not easily expressed in everyday conversation.
When our children tell stories they are developing and practicing their language skills. By telling our children stories we model the use of more complex language skills.
As home educators we have the ability to create the time to stop and listen when our children spontaneously tell us stories. Some are incredible works of fantasy, others a recounting of an event or experience, some barely coherent retelling of tired old plots found in television series or computer/video games. By listening and by sharing our personal stories with our children, we naturally and almost effortlessly add a wonderful - and educational - dimension to their lives.
Explore the world of storytelling through the following internet links:
Storytelling: Passport to the 21 st Century
Story Arts Online
Story Telling Power
Handbook for Story Tellers
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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